Ezzard Evans is the only defendant who pleaded guilty to all charges, including one admitting he was a gang leader. He was also the only defendant who pleaded to such a charge.
Photo: Cobb County Sheriffs Office
Photo: Cobb County Sheriffs Office

Cobb meth, heroin bust lands 12 in prison on gang and drug charges

A major drug bust involving a local gang ended with a dozen people in prison, Cobb County officials announced Tuesday.

They all pleaded guilty to gang and racketeering charges, said Cobb’s district attorney Vic Reynolds, but a 13th defendant has yet to be sentenced.

The gang involved is named the “Good Product Team.” It started up in Cobb in 2009 as a subset of the West Coast-based PIRU gang, said prosecutor Jaret Usher.

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The gang dealt heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana mostly in the Favor Road area before expanding operations throughout Georgia and Tennessee, Usher said.

Agents began gathering information on the gang in July 2013 using electronic and physical surveillance, confidential informants, undercover operations and social media.

They found that the drugs dealt by the GPT gang were pushed out of a business, Tattoos by Ho, which had locations on Austell Road and South Cobb Parkway.

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When business owner John Ho was shot during an armed robbery at the shop in September 2013, a police investigation revealed heroin, meth, cocaine and scales in the business. That was a key moment in the case, which lists Ho as a defendant.

About a year later, officers used warrants to search a dozen houses throughout Cobb and seized more than 125 grams of heroin — estimated to have a street value of $18,897 — 52 grams of meth, about half a million dollars in cash and seven vehicles.

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In June 2015, 46 people were indicted on various drug, gang and racketeering charges.

Dozens of those 46 were users who bought heroin from the gang. Reynolds said they were offered treatment as part of their sentences.

The only defendant who pleaded guilty to every charge is 28-year-old gang leader Ezzard Evans.

Mugshot of Ezzard Evans

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Cobb Magistrate Judge Joyette Holmes sentenced Evans to 14 years in prison and 16 years on probation. He’s been in custody since Aug. 19, 2014, and will get credit for his time served. The judge also ordered he pay fines up to $300,000.

Law enforcement “devoted many man hours to this case in an effort to remove a criminal street gang involved in the distribution of drugs, primarily heroin, from our county,” Reynolds said.

Here are the gang members or associates involved:

  • John Franklin Ho, 43, of Douglasville pleaded guilty Jan. 5, 2017, to racketeering, six counts gang-act violations and two trafficking counts. Ho was sentenced to 12 years in prison and 18 years of probation. He was fined $300,000.
  • Lamar Michael Odom, 27, of Hiram pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2017, to racketeering and six gang-act violations. Odom was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 20 years probation. 
  • Brandon Rickey McFarland, 27, of Marietta pleaded guilty Jan. 6, 2017, to racketeering and six gang-act violations. McFarland was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 20 years probation. 
  • Aurelius Giovanni Madison, 26, of Atlanta pleaded guilty Aug. 15, 2016, to racketeering along with six gang-act violations and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 20 years on probation.
  • Dequentin Roshawn Madison, 28, of Smyrna pleaded guilty June 30, 2016, to racketeering along with six gang-act violations and was sentenced to 17 years and eight on probation. 
  • Bernard Mathis, 27, of Austell pleaded guilty June 15, 2016, to racketeering and six gang-act violations. Mathis was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 15 years on probation.
  • Brandon Daqwuan Truitt, 29, of Smyrna pleaded guilty June 22, 2016, to racketeering and four gang-act violations. Truitt was sentenced to six years in prison and four years on probation.
  • Thomas Dewayne Works Jr., 29, of Marietta pleaded guilty June 28, 2016 to racketeering and six gang-act violations. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 on probation.
  • Works’ mother, Billy Jo Works, 47, of Marietta pleaded guilty Aug. 11, 2016, to one count of racketeering. She was sentenced to three years in prison and 17 years on probation.
  • Derrick Jarrod McDonald, 24, of Atlanta pleaded guilty June 28, 2016, racketeering and six gang-act violations. McDonald was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 on probation.
  • Tommy Lee Gresham, 39, of Marietta pleaded guilty June 28, 2016, to racketeering and six gang-act violations. Gresham was sentenced to nine years in prison and 11 on probation.
  • Antoine Maurice Atkinson, 28, of Marietta pleaded guilty Dec. 12, 2016, to racketeering, six gang-act violations and trafficking charges. He’s yet to be sentenced.

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